In addition to sharing results from addressable TV campaigns conducted by Starcom Mediavest Group agencies for entertainment, automotive and CPG clients (as summarized here last week), SMG supervisor Daniel Solarz recently reported some outcomes from a cross-channel campaign, and discussed addressable’s current limitations.
Given addressable’s limited universe of about 52 million households, one client campaign was designed to try to harness its targeting capabilities while also raising awareness through a more scalable media approach, Solarz told MediaPost TV Insider Summit attendees.
Using third-party sources, the team identified households with a specific condition. The audience was then served platform-specific creative to their televisions and their mobile devices by using the capabilities offered by AT&T AdWorks, the ad platform for DirecTV, in collaboration with Opera Mediaworks, the mobile advertising platform. The creative included 30-second spots on DirecTV, and banner and online video on Opera inventory.
“We were able to effectively increase scale by reaching TV households, reaching mobile households within the TV universe that didn’t see the ad, and reaching a combination of TV plus mobile,” Solarz said.
The test had three core cells: targeted TV households exposed to the ads, and a targeted TV control group not exposed to the ads; a targeted mobile group exposed to the ads, and a targeted mobile control group not exposed to the ads; and a targeted group exposed to both TV and mobile ads, along with a targeted TV-plus-mobile control group from whom ad exposure was withheld in both platforms.
Because post-campaign sales data was not readily available, the team used a survey (conducted by Penn Schoen Berland) to assess the results.
The research indicated 62% higher brand awareness among the audience exposed to both TV and mobile ads versus those exposed to TV ads only, according to Solarz.
In addition, ad recall was 38% higher among households exposed to TV-plus-mobile advertising, compared to TV-only households.
“We think that addressable is where part of the industry is heading,” Solarz said. “There’s a lot of innovation happening in addressable, and we’re kind of shoring up the sides and seeing what we can accomplish. Trying to expand reach by identifying [and delivering messaging to] households across both TV and mobile inventory … has been very key for us in the past six months or so.”
Challenge Of Controlling Frequency
Asked about measuring addressable TV exposure, Solarz noted that operators have a continuous feed of set-top box data showing everything being watched by subscribing households.
“We know if a household was served an addressable ad, and if so, how many frames of it were viewed,” he said. And use of advanced log data means that, for example, targeted viewers who fast-forward through an ad won’t be counted against the advertiser’s impression load, he added.
However, on the downside, Solarz acknowledged that addressable has frequency control issues, when asked to comment on a recent study by the USIM agency. It showed that the actual exposure frequencies delivered per audience quintile varied widely from the average per-household exposures that had been promised by platforms using either Invidi or Visible World technology.
In fact, Solarz reported that SMG has done similar analyses with similar results: “We’ve seen some households receiving two to three [exposures] … and others receiving 40-plus,” he said.
“One of things we’ve uncovered over the past few years is that we’re able to cap frequency by set-top box, but not necessarily by household because a household can have multiple boxes,” and any requested cap actually applies to each set-top box, not a household as a whole.
“So we try to do several iterations of a campaign, meaning a test and then an optimization,” he said. The test enables an understanding of which frequency rate drove the highest response or sales, and that frequency can then be used in planning an optimization effort.
Which raises another point: Addressable doesn’t yet allow for real-time optimization, just optimization from campaign to campaign, he noted.
Overall, Solarz observed, controlling frequency comes down to the technology that’s available. It’s “something we’ve really had to push our operators on.”
Agencies and marketers “have to work with Visible World and Invidi to make sure that they’re developing the requisite technology to ensure that frequency caps are being adhered to,” he said. “Because there’s a point at which a household could be served a frequency that’s inefficient from a dollars-spent perspective.”
He also maintains, however, that it’s important to keep in mind that frequency is affected by the inherently different natures of traditional national TV and addressable TV.
SMG has seen a much higher average frequency delivered in addressable than in national TV. “The reason is that with addressable, we’re eliminating waste,” since the ad is only served to households identified as in-market for a particular product, or ones known to have purchased a particular kind of product, Solarz said. “By eliminating wasted impressions to households that are not in-market, we’re able to concentrate our media delivery within the in-target households.”